Crispy hot stone grilled chicken / Madhbi Dajaj Recipe


     The word Madh-bee in Arabic translates to “grilled by the sun” and is referred to cuts of Lamb or chicken cooked on hot stones. Grilled or barbequed chicken is one of my most favorite methods of preparing chicken in a healthier way. 

     Madh-bee is a technique of preparing meats that is traced back to the people of the Southern Arabian Peninsula, in particular, the City of Hadramaut in Yemen and the City of Asir in Southern Saudi. The technique normally involves cuts of lamb or chicken cooked over a big flat hot stone under blazing flames of burning wood or on hot small stones over embers of wood. The meat is simply seasoned and placed on the stone to slow cook, and this yields a delicious juicy meat, and in the case of chicken, crispy too. As a result of migration from Yemen, the method spread to other Arab countries. With time, the method evolved into cooking the meat in a tan-nour oven which translated to brick oven. 

     When I lived in Italy I discovered how people living in the country side had a close-knit relation with their wood-burning brick ovens and how heavily they relied on its usage for baking pastries, bread, pizza and meats. Cooking on open flames is one cooking method I truly love and enjoy, and that explains my love for camping in the desert or winter time in my garden, where I get to do this. It must be the simplicity and the smell of burning wood that captivates me. 

     Since most people don’t have brick ovens, an alternative method is at hand to produce the crispiest chicken mimicking those of the brick oven or the madhbi technique. The pizza stone. 

      A pizza stone mimics a brick oven. The stone is porous and absorbs any liquid it comes in contact with resulting in a crispier skin as it draws out the moisture and crisps the skin. I use a hot iron skillet on top of the chicken to conduct heat and crisp up the top whilst the stone cooks the bottom, can use the Italian technique using mottone which translates to bricks, so it is grilling under the brick rather than a skillet. I have made this chicken seasoning it with salt only. My aim here is to share with you a technique, which you could then follow marinating or rubbing the chicken with different spices or herbs to your liking. I love eating it with aromatic spice basmati rice and the Omani tomato salsa 




Servings: 4

  • 1 1/2 kg chicken 
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Himalayan salt



* For the chicken cut, ask the butcher to spatchcock the chicken by cutting out the back bone and pressing it down with the palm of the hand so the whole chicken is flat. Then ask him to split it in half. 


* Preheat oven to 240 C. 

* Pat dry and rub with generous Himalayan salt. 


* Rub with olive oil. 

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* Heat the pizza stone and cast iron skillet in the oven. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet cover 2 brick with foil and heat them in the oven for half an hour. 

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* Place the chicken skin side down and top it with the hot skillet. 

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* Bake for 25 minutes then turn over and return the hot cast iron skillet on top of the chicken. 

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* When time is up insert a wooden skewer into the thickest part of the chicken. If the liquid run clear then it is done. Alternatively use the food thermometer inserting it into the thickest part of the chicken. If it registers 75 c then it is done. 


* Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Served with  Aromatic Basmati Rice


Per Serving : 702 Calories; 56g Fat (72.8% calories from fat); 47g Protein; trace Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 246mg Cholesterol; 189mg Sodium.